Didcot is set to have a smarter first impression when work begins to prepare the Didcot Gateway site for its highly anticipated regeneration work. Three empty buildings on the land opposite Didcot Parkway station are due to be demolished later this month.
Homes England, which owns a large area of the Gateway site, has arranged to knock down the old Labour Club, an empty property at 3-5 Lydalls Road and an empty shop on land opposite the railway station.
While the new developments due to go on the site are still in the planning stages, Homes England has chosen to demolish the buildings early, having listened to feedback from local residents.
In a community engagement exercise last summer, residents living nearby said they’d prefer to see the empty buildings removed even before any construction was scheduled to start.
The rest of the feedback from the engagement is helping Homes England to form their proposals to redevelop the land they own and will be used to help redevelop the wider Gateway site over the next few years.
Other landowners at the site, including South Oxfordshire District Council, are working closely with Homes England on the project. The council will be building its new offices on part of the site that it will share with the Vale of White Horse District Council.
Once complete, the whole site will have new homes as well as commercial and leisure spaces. It will also include environmental measures in line with the Didcot Garden Town principles.
Councillor David Rouane, Cabinet Member for Didcot Garden Town at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “We’re delighted that Homes England has arranged to demolish the empty buildings well ahead of the redevelopment work.
“Planning and development processes can take a while, so it’s great for local residents that they won’t have to look at the empty buildings much longer. It will also help to create a better impression for others passing through the town by train.
“We hope Homes England will take on residents’ requests to look at how the new open spaces can be used on a temporary basis – for something like a community garden – before any building work starts, but getting rid of these buildings is a great, positive first step towards giving a better sense of arrival for the whole garden town.”
Homes England hopes to submit planning applications for the land they own next month, and proposals for the rest of the site, including the land owned by South Oxfordshire District Council, will be shared later this year.